Saturday, January 24, 2015

A Snow Kind of Day

It wasn't a big snow but it sure was a pretty one. I've missed the whiteness this winter, so I was happy to see today's little covering.

The bird feeders have been very busy with visitors all day and I was glad we stocked up on seed this week.

I spent this quiet day working in the kitchen. It's been a mess all week as we emptied out the cabinets and painted them inside. Truthfully, I would love to have new cabinets, but with a new roof last week it's not in the budget. My cabinets are the same ones my first husband and I built in 1975, and they're rustic--and that's an understatement. But they're sturdy and they work and we don't usually replace things unless they're broke (or leaking, like the roof!).

So in the process of emptying them out and getting them ready for paint, I've done a lot of sorting. I had, if you can believe it, about 20 muffin tins in there. Why? I have no idea, except that I got them at auctions and thought I'd just keep them. And lids without pots--I sorted those a couple years ago and got rid of a lot of spare lids then. I know I did not keep any extras, so where did these come from? No clue, but they're on their way out. There were lots of other duplicates, things I've never used and never will, you know the kind of stuff.

Right now all the doors are off the cabinets; Larry is sanding them in preparation for re-staining. We will paint the frames the same color we used inside the cabinets, and I think I'm going to put white pulls on them just for a different look. 40 years with the same ol' same ol' has gotten, well, old.

And that project spun right into cleaning out the big pantry cupboard. I pulled out all the food and started looking at dates, organizing as I put it all back. There was no out-of-date food in there but there was a lot of duplicate and triplicate items--like 3 boxes of rice, about 6 different kinds of pasta, 2 boxes of grits, 3 of baking powder, 3 cans of spray olive oil...I guess I'd think I was out of something and just buy another!

The herbs were another matter. I found jars of oregano and other herbs I'd dried (and labeled, thankfully) in 2010. I now have lots of empty jars for this year's harvest, but I will be more circumspect about how much I put away. Two people can only use so much basil, after all.

Even with all this work, the kitchen is still a mess because I now have a pile of stuff to dispose of (anyone need a muffin tin or two or three??) and the trash can is overflowing. But it's a work in progress and by this time next week I hope we are finished with the cabinets and ready to move on to some needed work in the bathroom. One thing at a time, right?

Copyright Susanna Holstein. All rights reserved. No Republication or Redistribution Allowed without attribution to Susanna Holstein.

Friday, January 23, 2015

For the Love of Tappan

My stove, being checked out at my son's house
before he brought it to me.
I was waiting on my routine checkup at the doctor's earlier this week when my phone rang.

"Hello," said a male voice on the other end. "Is this Granny Sue?"

"Yes it is."

"My name is Mike, and I'm in Texas. A friend showed me your post about your Tappan Deluxe stove on a Tappan website. I have one and had some questions. I hope you have a minute to talk."

"Sure," I said. "Do you have a Tappan?"

My Tappan, at home in my kitchen
"I do," he said. "It's a 1951 Deluxe model. My grandmother bought it the year I was born. I've moved it all over the country with me. Right now it's in a storage unit. I am wondering, do these stoves have any value? I'm moving soon to Oregon, and wondering if it will be worth the cost to ship the stove there. I got it from my grandma in Buffalo, New York. Then I moved to West Virginia for a few years, then back to Buffalo, a few places in between and now I'm in Austin. This stove is like an albatross that I drag behind me everywhere I go, but I hate to part with it. It's so cool, looks like a space ship or something when it's all lit up. And it was my grandmother's, you know?"

What a story. I had to know more, so we talked about our stoves for a few more minutes, discussing the potential value of the stove versus the cost of moving it one more time. "I am still so in love with mine, and cannot imagine selling it, I told Mike."

Then I asked about Mike's time in West Virginia. He named a place not far from where I live, and that he'd moved there in the mid-70's.

"We might have known some of the same people, then," I said. West Virginia is, after all, like a small town--talk to someone long enough and you'll find someone you know in common, and sometimes even a common relative.

Mike rattled off some names, all familiar to me from those days 40-some years ago when many of us moved to these mountains to escape the world. Homesteaders, hippies, back-to-the-landers, call us what you will, we were all in flight from a world we thought had gone mad. (My husband and I were a little different from most of the newcomers, because he had a job and we had four children. We didn't do drugs, drink, or have radical political views--we just wanted land and a good place to raise our sons. a lot of the newcomers were like us, just looking for a place to call home.)

Suddenly I realized that I knew this guy! I asked him his name, and when he told me, I said, "I knew you back then!" I named where he had lived, and as we talked he slowly remembered who I was too.

The nurse came out and called my name. "I've gotta go, Mike. It was wonderful to connect with you again."

"Yeah!" He said. "If you ever come to Oregon, call me. You've got my number now."

That just might happen. We'll be in Oregon this summer, just three hours from where Mike will be living.

Such a small world, really, isn't it?

Copyright Susanna Holstein. All rights reserved. No Republication or Redistribution Allowed without attribution to Susanna Holstein.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Home Time

This time of year I get to stay at home a lot more than the rest of the year. Storytelling work is scarce in January, and even the sales at our booths slow down. It's a time to rest, recuperate and rediscover the joys of just being a homebody.

Last week I went out very little, and this week has been the same; three or four days will pass without me getting in the van. Larry and I start our days slowly with tea and coffee, computer time, breakfast--and then we finally get dressed, sometime between 8 and 10.

You would think we'd run out of things to say to each other. You would think that we've already said everything that needs to be said in the 30 years we've been together. And yet we talk all the time--about memories, projects, things we've read or heard. We never bore each other, which is a good thing since we're together almost 24/7.

I like the thinking time. Larry often goes outside or into his workroom for long periods of time or sometimes heads into town on errands, and I have quiet time to just think. Not that I am still--I stay busy as ever with cleaning or painting or laundry or whatever needs to be done. But my mind is free to wander about, to see and wonder in a different way. It's very like weeding the garden, really; those hours are golden times of reverie. Memories crowd in or an idea for a poem or story or blog post takes hold.

During the busy months from April through December times for quiet thought are rare and treasured but now they are a luxury of riches, and I am enjoying it, every minute. The pace will pick up soon enough, but for now I will sit with my tea and a book or magazine in the mornings and wait for the sun to rise while Larry checks his Facebook and the day slowly unfolds.

Copyright Susanna Holstein. All rights reserved. No Republication or Redistribution Allowed without attribution to Susanna Holstein.
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